Amazon Beat Analyst Expectations

Amazon stock, Amazon Prime, AWS

The e commerce company marked fourth straight quarter of profits and sent its shares soaring

On Thursday, Amazon.com, Inc. posted its quarterly earnings and impressed the analysts and investors with its boastful earnings. The result sent the shares soaring during the after-hour trading. The company also demonstrated the bolstering market power of its core business of retail and newly operating cloud services division.

In January, when the world’s biggest online retailer posted its disappointing results it sent both the analysts and the investors into the vortex of skepticism and uncertainty. All the concerned people worried about the company’s thin profit margins. But, after the announcement of the impressive results, the e-commerce firm’s share sprang 13% and reached at $679 during after-hours trading.

Since last week, the tech and internet companies have been posting disappointing results and after Facebook, Amazon.com, Inc. revived the market with their strong reports. Additionally, the company has provided bolstering outlook for the current quarter and is expecting to generate revenue of $28 billion to $30.5 billion while the analysts had expected the company to have revenue of $28.33 billion in the current quarter.

Company’s cloud computing segment, Amazon Web Services (AWS) was the biggest highlight of the evening. The division revenues had incredible jump of 64% and rested at $2.56 billion while the operating income tripled to $604 million.

AWS was launched by the company almost a decade ago and since it has been delivering more profits to the company than its’ core retail business. According to several research firms, the division has over 30% of the fast-growing cloud-computing market and it is a long way ahead of its rivals including Google and Microsoft.

The company cited that the subscribers for its Prime loyalty program has been growing strongly which presents original TV programming, gives access to its digital entertainment products like Prime Video and Prime Music, and offers one-hour delivery. The loyal program is offered at $99 annually.

The $279 billion organization expressed that it looks forward to boost spending to attract the customers of Prime through video content. This strategically has been built on the premise of the success of the Golden Globe winning awards programs –Transparent and Mozart in the Jungle.

Relating to the matter, the Chief Executive Officer, Brian Olsavsky said the following during the conference call with the investors, “We feel that program is working. We’re going to significantly increase our spend in that area.”

In line with the proposed plan, the company has recently launched $10.99 monthly subscription to the program. It has also expressed that it plans to come up with a standalone video streaming against the monthly fee of $8.99.

Although the company has not provided segregated number of the subscribers of Prime but according to Consumer Intelligence Research Partners, the program has close to 54 million members in the U.S. A senior analyst at Forrester Research, Frank Gillett opined that the revenue side of the company is endorsing that the Amazon Prime relationship model is working.

On Thursday, the company expressed that it will carry on its logistic operations. Amazon uses its own planes and trucks to enhance the carriers –such as FedEx and UPS –services and offer same day service.

For the first quarter, the company reported net income of $513 million –or an EPS of $1.07. This marks the fourth consecutive profit generating quarter for the company who earlier been facing cash flow problems. According to Thomson Reuters, earlier, the investors expected an EPS of $0.58 on revenue of $27.98 billion.

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Yahoo Adds Four New Directors To Its Board

Yahoo stock, Starboard Value, new directors

In an attempt to avoid proxy fight the Internet company has given into the demands of one of its activist shareholders

After giving into the pressures of the activist hedge fund Starboard Value LP, Yahoo Inc. finally agreed to add four new independent directors to its board. Through the move, the company has halted the impending proxy fight supposed to break out during upcoming shareholder meeting.

The agreement clearly indicates that the board of the company along with the management had been subjected to immense pressure from the major shareholders to resolve the disagreements. According to the agreement, the hedge fund proposed to waive off the battle if the struggling Internet company were to add new directors with an immediate effect. Finally, Yahoo settled the battle and make way for the probable auction of its core businesses.

The company announced that the Chief Executive Officer of Starboard –Jeffrey Smith –along with three independent directors who are associated with Mr. Smith will become the members of the board with the immediate effect. These new directors were among the panel formed to threat the Internet company of overthrowing its entire board.

The negotiations had been going on between both parties and the parties spoke frequently in order to find a way which could avert the fate of the company off the hands of the shareholders, according to the sources familiar with the matter. According to Reuters, the source privy to the matter informed that both parties were set to have talks in March but the situation aggravated when Yahoo appointed two new boards members and the talks ended in deadlock.

The takeaway of the agreement is that Starboard’s CEO will also join the company’s strategic review committee which is supervising the company’s sale of the core business –something aggressively favored by Mr. Smith.

According to Eric Jackson, the deal only allows Mr. Smith to be part of the committee without giving him any board control. Mr. Jackson is the managing director at SpringOwl Asset Management –which is a fund that owns shares of the Internet company.

The company further announced that two of its directors –Sue James and Lee Scott –will vacate their positions at the annual meeting. After the inclusion of the four new directors, the Internet company’s board will comprise of 11 members.

Until now, no formal date has been announced by the company of its annual meeting however historically, the meetings have been held by the company during late June.

Starboard owns around 1.% of Yahoo and it has been quite vocal and aggressive regarding few changes which included the removal of some top officials including company’s CEO, Ms. Mayer.

Yahoo had had great performance to its credit but after the financial crisis of 2008, the company couldn’t uplift itself in a more positive way and it angered few of its activist shareholders –which include hedge fund heavyweights Daniel Loeb and Carl Icahn –over its performance.

The positive point for the company is that through this agreement, the company is most likely to put the costly and distracting proxy fight behind it. The Internet giant can now focus solely on the bidding of its core business which has queue of potential buyers including Verizon Communications.

At the market which closed on Wednesday, Yahoo Inc. stock stood at a price of $36.95.

Will Facebook Post Impressive Earnings This Quarter?

Facebook stock, Virtual Technology, WhatsApp

A lot of tech companies have posted disappointing results but the analyst are hopeful with Facebook to post impressive earnings

If there is any company which can perform slightly better amidst the below the expected performance of the tech companies, it is Facebook Inc. The social networking giant has managed to garner remarkable growth, especially on mobile devices. It also has various revenue streams –on both long and short term horizon –particularly in virtual reality and messaging. The social networking behemoth will be celebrating its fourth anniversary of being a public-traded company and analysts are expecting it to post impressive first quarterly results due today –Wednesday.

According to the poll carried out by FactSet, the analysts have been expecting the $308 billion organization to post an EPS of $0.62 which is an increase of 48% in comparison with a year earlier period. Revenue is expected to sprang 48% and reached to $5.3 billion. Since its initial public offering, in 2012, the company has beaten the analysts’ expectations only once.

The social networking giant’s smooth transition to mobile has been beneficial. In the fourth quarter, close to 80% of the revenue was generated from the advertising on mobile. Just three years ago, the advertising revenue from mobile had been contributing merely one-quarter of the company’s total revenue. According to Nanigans, Facebook’s marketing partner, over the last quarter, the company’s spending on mobile, in comparison with the desktop, jump up 15% while the return on ad spend increased by 57% year-over-year. At the end of the last year, the average revenue per user for Facebook went up 33%. Through this, in the fourth quarter, Facebook was able to earn net income of slightly more than $1 billion.

This move sets a high bar for the tech stocks which have been already struggling in the tough market. The tech giant’s few peers including Netflix Inc., Microsoft Corp., and Google’s parent Alphabet Inc., along with companies like International Business Machines Corporation, and Intel Corporation have posted disappointing results during the on-going earnings season. The most valuable company of the world, Apple Inc. and the social networking site also posted lower-than-expected earnings late Tuesday. It is not unusual for the once “overachievers” to post disappointing results but Facebook is posing to have promising quarter.

The Menlo Park, CA firm’s forward multiple was close to “twice as high” following its trading debut in 2012. Apart from slight stock slumps which the company encountered during initial stages of turning into trading company, the stock has always jumped up and currently it has increased at about 30% compound annual clip.

The company has been actively involved in increasing its power over its apps fraternity. Facebook didn’t offer segregated accounts to disclose the distinct revenue details of each app run by it however the analysts from Credit Suisse are expecting the company’s Instagram app to contribute around 11% to company’s total revenue and earn approximately $3.2 billion in the current year.

The company’s most popular messaging apps WhatsApp and Messenger have not directly been moneymaking segment for the company but they have attracted a large number of users. WhatsApp –which now has a billion users –and Messenger –with 900 million users –offer end to end encryption to its users. Messenger is now also offering bot store which will help the users to bring down the over flow of the apps.

The company has also entered into the virtual reality and it has lately started selling Oculus Rift –VR gear for $599. According to the Wired, 400 out of 1200 employees at Facebook are working on virtual reality. Even though an immediate flow of cash is not expected out of the company’s VR segment but the mere entry of the company in the region proposed future possible income for the social networking titan.

At the market which closed on Tuesday, Facebook Inc. stock stood at a price of $108.76.

Google Responds To European Commission’s Allegations

Google and EC, European commission

Google finally responds to the charges filed by the European Commission

The European Commission filed anti-trust charges against Alphabet Inc. on Wednesday. The EC claimed that Google’s Android operating system is violating the laws of fair competition. However, Google contradicts these allegations by stating that it is an open innovation platforms that benefits the manufacturers and consumers.

Google is operating under the umbrella of Alphabet and has been charges by Ms. Margrethe Vestager of European Commission. As per the executive’s announcement in a press conference, the search engine giant is stifling competition via unfair means.

The investigation conducted by the EC mentioned in its Statement of Objections, the tech giant is offering monetary incentives original equipment manufacturers (OEM) of smartphones so that they pre-install a range of Google’s applications such as Gmail and Google Chrome. This stops the manufacturers from pre-installing apps of rivals. Moreover, the company was even accused of forcing OEMs to install Google Search as a default engine.

GOOG has refuted the charges through its official blogs where it claimed that its business model has been designed in a manner that enables the OEMs to regulate low manufacturing costs with more flexibility. This is the reason why they prefer to use their platform in contrast to others. Android is offering more control to consumers on their smartphone. They also highlighted that the OEMs are not forced to sign the partnership agreement and it is voluntary.

The company has cited Amazon as a prime example, which is making use of Android in its Fire smartphone range. The company tweaks the platform as per its need. When it comes to the allegations pertaining to the pre-installation of the Google apps, the company defended itself by stating that Android is free of cost for the masses since the price for the upgrades, security and development are governed by the revenues through the various application. This is why they have pre-distributed the application on Android.

Once the mobile phones get certified, the OEMs are free to pre-install any application they desire. However, it should support the ecosystem of Android and run the Google apps suite. This method is being used by other tech giants such as Microsoft Corporation, Facebook and Amazon.com Inc. moreover; nobody stops the users from downloading the apps of rivals whatsoever. For instance, one can download the Firefox browser as a replacement to Google Chrome; YouTube can be replaced by Soundcloud etc.

However, it needs to be noted that the charges by the European Union are merely based on the pre-installation of Google apps. The other apps that are later pre-installed by the OEMs are not directly competing with Google’s core services like the Play Store app market or Google Search. However, because of the former devices many are not able to run the software of others. The tech giant defended itself by stating that the published rules have been coined in the best interest to user and provides a safe platform for consumers centered on innovation. Google so far has not been able to satisfy the EC with its bargain.

 

 

 

Apple Watch Sold Twice As Much As iPhone

Apple stock, Apple Watch,

The sale of the smartwatch is critical who is amidst the slowing sales of its core product

In each device’s debut year, the tech giant has sold more Watches than the iPhones. However, the smart-watch hasn’t been able to eliminate the tag of “disappointment” from itself.

On Sunday, just two days before the tech giant’s quarter earnings –the smartwatch marked its first anniversary. The product’s fate is important for the tech titan at it’s the first product since iPad which test the innovative mind of the CEO Tim Cook at the time when the company’s core product is facing slowing sale.

Up till now, the sales figures are quite satisfactory. The Cupertino, Calif. firm didn’t tell the exact figure of the Watch sales but the analysts have estimated that around 12 million smartwatches were sold in the first year. If the estimates are true then the sales generated revenue of $6 billion –at an estimated price of $500 which is three times Fitbit Inc.’s –an activity tracker –annual revenue.

In comparison with the sales of the Watches, in its first year, the tech giant sold close to six million iPhones. According to the researcher IDC, last year, Apple’s Watch made up around 61% of smartwatch sales across the world.

Still, there are few people who dare to call the product, a “flop.” Co-founder of Union Square Ventures –a venture-capital firm, Fred Wilson declared that the device wouldn’t be a “homerun” like its successors –iPad, iPhone, and iPod –expressing that majority of people will pass the idea of wearing a computer on their wrists.

The smartwatch has few drawbacks too. It has underpowered processor due to which the watch’s functionality is slow. It doesn’t have Global Positioning System (GPS) and mobile connections which means that it has always had to be accompanied with iPhone simultaneously restricting its usefulness as an independent device. Furthermore, the battery ought to be charged daily.

But, the Watch still lack definite functions for the Apple Watch. It certain functions are quite well including mobile payments, notification, and activity tracking. However there is no function exclusively for Apple Watch. Every function which the Watch performs is what an iPhone or a less expensive activity tracker could do.

Few of the consumers also noted about the slow software of the device and the diurnal inconvenience of charging the device daily have made them shift to the other cheaper smartwatches.

Sources privy to the matter has said that Apple is working on fixing the apparent flaws of the Watch. The tech giant is actively involved in adding faster processor and cell-network connectivity to its next-gen smartwatch.

An Apple spokeswoman didn’t comment when asked about the apparent issues of the Watch.

J.P. Gownder, an analyst from Forrester Research expressed that the device isn’t useful. He wants the businesses to develop apps like the one created by Starwood Hotel & Resorts Worldwide Inc. which allow the users to receive a room assignment and unlock a door, in addition to checking in, without even dealing at the front desk.

Mr. Gownder said that the Apple Watch doesn’t offer a broader ally of services and added: “Apple needs to make it an indispensable thing.” Nevertheless, Apple has a large number of fans who use the product daily and are quite satisfied with it.

According to a research firm, Wristly, out of 1,150 tech giant’s smartwatch users around 93% has said that they are “satisfied” or “very satisfied” with the product.

Under the umbrella of the loyal customers, the Apple Watch will surely perform better.

Tesla Announces May 4 For Earnings Report

Tesla stock, Model X, earnings call

Both the analysts and the investors will likely question the CEO about the quality issues in the early birds Tesla Model X

Tesla Motors has announced on Wednesday that the company will be reporting its first quarter earnings on May 4. The report is likely to be disclosed in the New York City after the markets closed on that day. It is expected that the report will give detailed view of the company’s progress on its Model X SUV.

The company’s cash-flow position would have slightly been helped by the deposit of $1,000 per vehicle which the company received on its highly anticipated Model 3 sedan. The auto-tech giant had roughly garnered close to 400,000 pre orders. However, the luxury electric car makers have to raise more capital and this is what the analysts and the investors will be hoping to hear from CEO Elon Musk to know the company’s strategies to raise the capital.

The Chief Executive is expected to be asked about the quality issues faced by several “early birds” Tesla Model X. On Tuesday, Consumer Reports cited that several customers reported that the vehicle’s “falcon wings” sensors were not working properly. The company responded to the complaints saying that it has acknowledged the issues in the vehicle and it will be responding to each owner distinctly and will go at lengths to satisfy the customers.

Reportedly, earlier this month, the luxury electric car maker had recalled 2,700 Model X manufactured before March 26 due to faulty third-row seats. The automaker carried out a strength test which pointed out few defects in the vehicle. The auto-tech giant has also advised the customers to avoid using the specific seat when the car is in use.

Additionally, earlier this month only, the $34 billion organization revealed that, during the first quarter, it has delivered close to 15,000 cars. Also, Tesla’s Model S sedan sales increase by 45% in comparison with last year’s same quarter.

For the current year, the company has to meet a target of delivering around 80,000 vehicles. In order to achieve that Tesla has to deliver an average of around 21,700 vehicles each quarter throughout the year. Therefore, it is likely expected that Mr. Musk will be questioned about the company’s strategies of meeting deadlines.

Musk had earlier reported that Model X’s features couldn’t be easily engineered therefore the company had to put heavy reliance on the parts suppliers. Moreover, according to the CEO, the “parts shortage” is one of the reasons for the delayed production of the Model X.

According to the analysts poll carried out by Thomson Reuters the Silicon Valley luxury electric car maker is likely to report a loss of $0.86 for the first quarter which ends on March 31 –last year, the company reported a loss of $1.22 in the same period. After making the adjustments for Tesla’s non-GAAP accounting, the quarterly losses are likely to be increased to $0.61 from a year-ago same period’s loss of $0.36.

In comparison with the last year’s revenue of $1.10 billion, the current year’s first quarter revenue is expected to be around $1.61 billion.

The investors are not much concerned about the company’s losses as it has been spending recklessly on the operational growth however what the analysts and the investors will be closely watching is the revenue of the company to determine the achievement of the sales targets. Furthermore, the analysts are also at the watch for the California carbon emission credits disbursed by other car manufacturers.

Verizon Is Eyeing On Yahoo

yahoo business, verizon yahoo, yahoo buyout

Verizon submits the most impressive bid for Yahoo’s business and Asian asset

The deadline prescribed by Yahoo Inc. for receiving the bids for its major Internet based assets has finally surfaced. Most of the names that were initially part and parcel of the auction list have now backed off, so now it seems like the path is clear for Verizon Communications under the leadership of AOL CEO, Mr. Tim Armstrong. All those companies that are a big name in the fraternity encompass Comcast, Alphabet Inc., Interactive Corp and AT&T

Verizon has enough money to go forward with the deal. Thus the telecom giant might seal the deal for $10 billion for Yahoo’s core assets. This is not the first time but initially the company made an acquisition of AOL for an amount of $4.4 billion, this company was said to be a headache for Huffington Post but is now doing well with them. There is a content gap which Verizon is dealing with presently. Thus the Yahoo web properties such as Yahoo Sport, Finance and others can overcome the gap and bring a change for them.

So of the company succeeds in signing the deal then Mr. Tim Armstrong who was initially rendering his services to the chief executive officer of Yahoo, Ms. Marissa Mayer would take charge of the company and will deploy all his resources so that the company can embrace a turnaround for its assets. Mr. Armstrong has a sound history of taking such challenges and emerging out as victorious. It is likely that soon we will see a headline in the newspaper regarding Yahoo’s acquisition by Verizon. This is not it but Mr. Armstrong has also showed interest in  acquiring Yahoo’s Asian assets but he might not have enough finances to do so.

When it comes to the big names in the fraternity such as Twitter Inc., Facebook Inc., and Alphabet Inc. it is quite sane for them to be not interested in the web properties of Yahoo since they already have a massive Internet share. According to Kara Swisher who belongs to Re/Code, the big giants of the Silicon Valley already possess everything that Yahoo is presently offering. Moreover, they do that better thus many names that were a part of the auction list was not actually making a bid anyway.

With time it is being observed that the list seems to be shortening down. Moreover, the potential bidders are gradually realizing that there are numerous uncertainties that are linked to the auction process. This is paired with the high demand for the major assets of YHOO. On the other hand, Time Inc. another potential bidder decided to back out of the bidding race since they are of the view that the revamping the company is not a piece of cake. However Daily Mail on the other hand is interested in buying the web properties of Yahoo and are also asking the various private equity firms for support. The reason why Mail wishes to invest is that they want to make their way to the United States.